Michigan readers of our blog may remember an earlier post that detailed a battle between Zsa Zsa Gabor's daughter and her husband of 25 years over who should be the conservator of Ms. Gabor's care and estate. Francesca Hilton, Ms. Gabor's only child from a previous marriage, is satisfied with the court ordered conservatorship agreement as it requires Ms. Gabor's husband, Prince Frederic von Anhalt, to provide financial statements and medical records each month, according to her attorney.
When establishing an estate plan it is important to determine how you own something, such as an investment account, real estate property or even a checking account. Consider the example of a couple who brings not only separate property to a second marriage, but children as well, like many blended families in Michigan. The couple went about classifying all of their assets as joint tenancy. Joint tenancy or joint tenants is a term that deals with the rights of survivorship.
As discussed in last week's post, if your parents do not yet have an estate plan in place consider discussing the possibilities during the month of May. According to the Alzheimer's Association, in the United States more women than men have the disease or some other form of dementia. So what better gift can you give your mother than the peace of mind she will have in knowing her and her family's future have been protected through estate planning, including a will, trust and powers of attorney?
This Mother's Day, Michigan residents should consider a rather unorthodox, yet very important gift and that is the peace of mind that comes when you and your mother know the family will be taken care of when the inevitable occurs. Estate planning can be one of the most important gifts you give your family because it takes much of the guessing out of what you, and your mother's wishes are in the event either of you should become incapacitated and unable to make important financial and medical decisions on your own behalf.
Disagreements are a normal part of family life; however there comes a time when you want to document your decisions regarding the person you trust the most to handle your estate and make certain decisions on your behalf should you become unable to communicate your wishes. And, in some cases you may also want to specify who you do not want to have these powers, and that can be an even tougher challenge with today's probate and estate inheritance laws.